Science & Scholarship
Building bridges between psychotherapy research and psychotherapy practice.
The Science and Scholarship domain oversees two psychotherapy research grant programs for Society members (
- The Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant awards a $5,000 grant to graduate students, predoctoral interns, postdoctoral fellows, and psychologists for research on the psychotherapy process and/or psychotherapy outcomes.
- The Norine Johnson, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant program awards one $10,000 grant to an early career doctoral-level researcher (within 10 years of receiving doctoral degree) for research on psychotherapist factors that may impact treatment effectiveness and outcomes (e.g., type and amount of training, professional degree or discipline, psychotherapists’ personal characteristics).
Members interested in becoming more involved with the Science and Scholarship domain are invited to submit brief summaries of current research projects to the Psychotherapy Bulletin. The domain also encourages members to join the Research Committee, which is responsible for selecting grant awardees amongst other initiatives.
Patricia Spangler, Ph.D.
Patricia T. Spangler, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress in the Department of Psychiatry at Uniformed Services University and a Research Psychologist with the Henry Jackson Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Maryland College Park, with Dr. Clara Hill as her advisor. Her postdoctoral fellowship with the Laboratory for the Treatment of Suicide-Related Ideation and Behavior at Uniformed Services University focused on suicide prevention in military personnel exposed to trauma and on revising the U.S. Air Force Guide for Suicide Risk Assessment, Management, and Treatment.
Dr. Spangler's current research focuses on developing treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder in military personnel and veterans. She has a particular interest in trauma-related nightmares and insomnia, how they relate to trauma memory consolidation and reconsolidation, and how these variables factor into the etiology and chronicity of traumatic stress symptoms. Dr. Spangler has a $942K grant from the Joint Program Committee-5/Military Operational Medicine Research Program to pilot Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing (NDR), a treatment for trauma-related nightmares adapted from Hill’s cognitive-experiential model of dream work. The pilot study is testing the tolerability and potential efficacy of NDR as well the feasibility of integrating physiologic data (e.g., heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, and actigraphy) and assay of peripheral blood biomarkers (e.g., brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Val-66-Met, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines) as measures of in-session stress as well as of treatment outcome. In addition Dr. Spangler is interested in utilizing in-session biomarkers (e.g., heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, and oxytocin levels) to investigate how therapist-patient biologic synchrony relates to working alliance and trauma-related countertransference.
Dr. Spangler currently serves as the Science and Scholarship Domain Representative on the Division 29 Board of Directors, where she is working with members of the Research Committee to increase visibility of research funding for psychotherapy process and outcome research as well as highlighting the research of Division grant and award winners. Dr. Spangler served as a Committee Member on the Professional Practice Committee from 2014 to 2019, where she worked on two studies assessing the needs of psychotherapists in private practice and how their needs changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and she contributed to two workshops focusing on managing issues around politics and political identity when they arise during therapy sessions.